You've probably seen the popular show on VH-1, "I Love the 80s". I guess I'm the voice of dissent because "I Hate the 80s". Living through them was bad enough, but having to endure this current burst of 80s nostalgia is nearly unbearable. When I see 80s love-note movies like The Wedding Singer I quickly avert my eyes, shut my ears, and change the channel. I absolutely cannot stand the fashions, the music, the slang, or the whole Ronnie & Nancy thing. One of the byproducts of the 80s craze is popular movies from the decade coming out on DVD.
The Lost Boys -- the title, an homage to Peter Pan, natch -- practically defines the era for flashy teen horror. I saw it when it came out in 1987 and remember liking it, but not much beyond that. (I see so many horror movies, they have to make a profound impression on me if I'm to remember much beyond the basics.) When I slipped the disc into my player, I breathed a sigh of relief: Although there are indeed some headbands and shoulder pads, there's nary a legwarmer in sight in The Lost Boys, hardly any Valley Girl slang, and a fairly decent rockish soundtrack thankfully void of bands like The Thompson Twins or Flock of Seagulls.
The Lost Boys is landmark in that it's the very first film to feature "The Coreys" -- Corey Haim plays Sam Emerson, a young teen who's new in town. He's moved to "Santa Carla: Murder Capital of the World" along with his chisel-cheeked and buff-bodied older brother, Michael (Jason Patric, son of Jason Miller, who played the young priest in The Exorcist), and their newly-divorced mom, Lucy (Dianne Weist). Corey Feldman plays Edgar Frog (and his brother is Alan… get it? Edgar, Alan…?) a commando-obsessed teen who works in a comic book store. Although they think little of Sam's fashion sense, the Frog Brothers befriend the loudly dressed newcomer and warn him about all the vampires lurking in Santa Carla. Needless to say, the vampire curse soon touches the Emerson family, and the Frog Brothers fly into action.
The vampires of Santa Clara are stone-faced, leather-clad hotties which include pale and blonde Keifer Sutherland as David, dark and mysterious Billy Wirth as Dwayne, and pretty and glittery Jami Gertz as Star. The vampire's lair is sort of a teenage wasteland, replete with a huge portrait of Jim Morrison and a few well-placed surfboards. If their home seems more 60s than 80s, just remember most them probably were teens when The Doors ruled the airwaves and Buffalo Keaulana ruled the waves. On the other hand, our young hero Sam's lair (his bedroom) is dreadfully period-appropriate, boasting posters of an androgynous looking Molly Ringwald and a scantily-clad Rob Lowe. (Although it's never ventured forth in the film, one does briefly wonder about the sexual orientation of Sam, who wears a tee-shirt that says Born to Shop and sings a song in the bathtub which goes "I ain't got a man… I'm a lonely girl…")
The Lost Boys is a very good example of the successful crossing of several genres: teen angst, horror, comedy, romance, suspense, and drama. The things that really elevate The Lost Boys above the rest and ensure it a place in the "almost-classic" realm is the superb cinematography from Academy Award nominee Michael Chapman; excellent vampire makeup effects from Academy Award winner Greg Cannom; and above-par acting from the fresh and watchable teen cast (several of whom have proven their mettle and are still working today). Watching the showy, fast-paced film, you would never guess that director Joel Schumacher was working within the limitations of a small budget and a short shooting schedule.
A lot like the decade of the 80s itself, this quasi-horror flick prizes style over substance -- but that doesn't mean it's not fun to break out the Double-Stuff Oreos and root beer, and revisit The Lost Boys for a little while.
The new two disc set is loaded with additional release material. On disc one there is the movie in widescreen format, and optional commentary from Schumacher. He's not the most dynamic speaker, but he's got his facts and anecdotes well in hand and delivers an informative and entertaining listening experience.
Disc two is the one with all the never-before-seen goodies. The "Retrospective" featurette has new interviews with The Coreys, Joel Schumacher, producer Richard Donner, DP Michael Chapman, Keifer Sutherland, Edward Hermann (who plays Lucy's boyfriend in the movie) and production designer Bo Welch. Other mini-docs include "Inside the Cave" (a look at the film's visual design); "Comedy Vs. Horror"; "A Different Look at Vampires" (how The Lost Boys supposedly offered a new twist to the old legend); "A Sequel?" (fans have been clamoring); "Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom" (this one is more interesting than the usual makeup effects featurettes); and "Haimster & Feldog - The Story of 2 Coreys" (short, and more entertaining than I expected). Another extra on this disc is the "Multi-Angle" commentary featuring your choice of Haim, Feldman and Jamison Newlander (who played Alan Frog) for about 20 minutes of selected scenes.
If that isn't enough to sate your Lost Boys bloodlust, there is also an assortment of 18 deleted scenes. None are accessible individually; they are arranged as one long medley. There isn't any commentary from Schumacher explaining why they were cut, but we can guess on most of them. Still, it's bound to be a lot of fun for diehard fans of the movie who've always wanted to see more. There is also a stills gallery with no less than 78 pictures, and an interactive map called "A World of Vampires" which touches on the legendary monster throughout history across the continents (this was one of my favorite featurettes). Lastly, there is my least-favorite featurette: the "rad" (not!) music video for Lou Gramm's "Lost in the Shadows".
(Don't forget to check out the Horror.com exclusive interview with the two Corey's at Comic Con 2004!)
Review by Staci Layne Wilson for Horror.com